Volume 11, Issue 3 - May/June 2017
List CAPTUREs Most Vulnerable U.S. Tree Species
What do water locust, Texas walnut, chalk maple, pyramid magnolia, two-wing silver bell, and butterbough all have in common? They’re among the U.S. tree species most vulnerable to climate change, according to a study by North Carolina State University scientist Kevin Potter (an Eastern Threat Center cooperator), U.S. Forest Service Southern Region geneticist Barbara Crane, and Center research ecologist Bill Hargrove. Using a framework known as Project CAPTURE (Conservation Assessment and Prioritization of Forest Trees Under Risk of Extirpation), the researchers analyzed the traits of 339 U.S. tree species and predictions of climate-related pressure on each species. They then listed each species in one of seven vulnerability classes based on its exposure, sensitivity, and capacity to adapt to a changing environment. Of the 35 tree species listed in the highest vulnerability class, 24 are mostly found in the Southeast. “As we continue to analyze additional tree species and updated climate projections, we expect that Project CAPTURE will guide conservation, restoration, and management decision making at a national level,” says Potter. Results from this study were recently published in a special issue of the journal New Forests, co-edited by Potter, which also features an introduction by Potter and colleagues. Read more in CompassLive and in a Springer blog post on the story behind the special journal issue.